Why running?

As I continue to introduce you to myself, I figured I’d explain why I chose running several years ago and why it’s become so important to me. I get asked this question several times a week, in fact my dad asked me again last night, “Why do you torture yourself? Cycling is so much easier.” My answer was something about how I like a challenge, and that is true but it goes much deeper than that.

Prior to this point in my life, going back to high school here, I had a really warped view of myself. I was constantly trying to lose weight and going to extremes to get there, this peaked the year after I graduated when I started to restrict my calories to maybe 700 a day and working out for 3 hours a day at minimum 5 days a week. I was miserable. I eventually got burned out and turned to drinking to quiet that negative self talk. After I turned 21 (and finished my first half) I really relied on alcohol to self medicate and fell into a funk of depression. A year later my weight had peaked to over 200lbs (I’m only 5’3!!) and later in the year I had gotten sick and discovered I had fatty liver.

Things changed after that. I slowed down my alcohol consumption considerably, went to a psychiatrist for medication and started seeing a nutritionist. We worked on getting over my disordered eating habits and getting back to eating healthy. Once I got my diet in order and I lost some weight I worked on getting comfortable running outside again. The more races I signed up to do the less I “fell off the wagon” because I just didn’t have the time to go back to old habits.

It’s been a few years since all of that happened but I now run 4-5 days a week, I’ve learned to control alcohol consumption to 2-3 drinks a week (if that), and as of July I came off of all my anxiety and anti depressant medications. Running helped me through all of this. It’s helped with my self confidence, my mental health, my diet, and made me a better person all around. I’m so glad I picked this crazy sport as my passion.

 

Why do you run?

What is a “runner’s body”?

I wasn’t planning on talking about this subject until after the marathon, but something happened the other day that made me feel compelled to touch on the subject this week. I received a message from someone whom I don’t know, have never met, and never plan on meeting. The message went something like, “you don’t need reflective gear when you run, no one could ever miss you”.

Now for those of you who don’t know me in real life, I don’t look like the “average runner”. I’m short and overweight, not tall and skinny like so many other runners I see out there. I’ve heard my share of rude comments about my weight and I’m very aware that I am not what people think of when you say the word “marathoner”. Yet here I am, training for 26.2 number 2. The thing that irritated me most about this person’s comment was that they don’t know me, they don’t know how hard I work to be a distance runner, and they certainly don’t understand the struggle of being a short overweight person in a sport full of tall and/or skinny people.

The point of this post is to encourage others who aren’t their ideal size or height, that those things don’t matter. I once went through a phase where I refused to run outside because I was worried that people driving by would judge me, but at the end of the day you’re doing something good for your body that you love. Who cares what anyone else thinks of you? The only opinion about yourself that should matter to you is your own. We can’t change our genetics so we have to learn to work with God has given us. So if you run and have a body, then you have a runner’s body.

I have one, do you?